At least, such titles are equivocal , and likely to mislead the learner.
The governments in English are only seven, and these are expressed, perhaps with sufficient distinctness, in six of the foregoing rules: 1. Of Possessives by nouns, in Rule 4th; 2. Of Objectives by verbs, in Rule 5th; 3.
Of Objectives by participles, in Rule 5th; 4. Of Objectives by prepositions, in Rule 7th; 5.
Of Infinitives by the preposition to , in Rule 18th; 6. Of Participles by prepositions, in Rule 20th.
But it is to be remembered, that the mere collocation of words in a sentence never affects the method of parsing them: on the contrary, the same words, however placed, are always to be parsed in precisely the same way, so long as they express precisely the same meaning. In order to show that we have parsed any part of an inverted or difficult sentence rightly, we are at liberty to declare the meaning by any arrangement which will make the construction more obvious, provided we retain both the sense and all the words unaltered; but to drop or alter any word, is to pervert the text under pretence of resolving it, and to make a mockery of parsing.
Grammar rightly learned, enables one to understand both the sense and the construction of whatsoever is rightly written; and he who reads what he does not understand, reads to little purpose. With great indignity to the muses, several pretenders to grammar have foolishly taught, that, "In parsing poetry, in order to come at the meaning of the author, the learner will find it necessary to transpose his language. See also the books of Merchant, Wilcox, O. Peirce, Hull, Smith, Felton , and others, to the same effect.
To what purpose can he transpose the words of a sentence, who does not first see what they mean, and how to explain or parse them as they stand? Murray's Gram.
In accordance with this assertion, some assume, that, "Every nominative has its own verb expressed or understood;" and that, "Every verb except in the infinitive mood and participle has its own nominative expressed or understood. The adopters of these dogmas, of course think it right to supply a nominative whenever they do not find a separate one expressed for every finite verb, and a verb whenever they do not find a separate one expressed for every nominative.
This mode of interpretation not only precludes the agreement of a verb with two or more nominatives, so as to render nugatory two of the most important rules of these very gentlemen's syntax; but, what is worse, it perverts many a plain, simple, and perfect sentence, to a form which its author did not choose, and a meaning which he never intended. Suppose, for example, the text to be, "A good constitution and good laws make good subjects. Does not the verb make agree with constitution and laws , taken conjointly?
Away then with all this needless subaudition! But while we thus deny that there can be a true ellipsis of what is not necessary to the construction, it is not to be denied that there are true ellipses, and in some men's style very many. The assumption of O. Peirce, that no correct sentence is elliptical, and his impracticable project of a grammar founded on this principle, are among the grossest of possible absurdities. Wilson says, "There may be several subjects to the same verb, several verbs to the same subject, or several objects to the same verb, and the sentence be simple.
But when the sentence remains simple, the same verb must be differently affected by its several adjuncts, or the sense liable to be altered by a separation. If the verb or the subject be affected in the same manner, or the sentence is resolvable into more, it is compounded. Thus, 'Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red, mixed in due proportion, produce white,' is a simple sentence, for the subject is indivisible.
But, 'Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red, are refrangible rays of light,' is a compound sentence, and may be separated into seven. The propriety of the distinction here made, is at least questionable; and I incline to consider the second example a simple sentence, as well as the first; because what the writer calls a separation into seven, involves a change of are to is , and of rays to ray , as well as a sevenfold repetition of this altered predicate, " is a refrangible ray of light.
Nor do I admit that he has a right to insert or repeat anything needlessly ; for the nature of a sentence, or the syntax of some of its words, may often be altered without change of the sense, or of any word for an other: as, "'A wall seven feet high;' that is, 'A wall which is seven feet high. Smith's , ; Weld's , ; and others. By this notion of ellipsis, the connexion or joint relation of words is destroyed. Adam, who thought the division of sentences into simple and compound, of sufficient importance to be made the basis of a general division of syntax into two parts, has defined a simple sentence to be, "that which has but one nominative, and one finite verb;" and a compound sentence, "that which has more than one nominative, or one finite verb.
The parts of which a compound sentence consists, are called Members or Clauses. In every compound sentence there are either several subjects and one attribute, or several attributes and one subject, or both several subjects and several attributes; that is, there are either several nominatives applied to the same verb, or several verbs applied to the same nominative, or both.
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Every verb marks a judgment or attribute, and every attribute must have a subject. There must, therefore, be in every sentence or period, as many propositions as there are verbs of a finite mode. Sentences are compounded by means of relatives and conjunctions; as, Happy is the man who loveth religion, and practiseth virtue.
And if "a simple sentence is that which has but one nominative and one finite verb," and "a compound sentence is made up of two or more simple sentences," it follows, since "all sentences are either simple or compound," that, in no sentence, can there be "either several nominatives applied to the same verb, or several verbs applied to the same nominative. Nor is it less repugnant to his subsequent doctrine, that, "Sentences are compounded by means of relatives and conjunctions ;" for, according to his notion, "A conjunction is an indeclinable word, which serves to join sentences together.
It is assumed, that, "In every sentence there must be a verb and a nominative expressed or understood. Now if there happen to be two nominatives to one verb, as when it was said, "Even the winds and the sea obey him;" this cannot be anything more than a simple sentence; because one single verb is a thing indivisible, and how can we suppose it to form the most essential part of two different sentences at once?
For example: "And they all forsook him, and [they all] fled. Some will say, that the words in brackets are here understood. I may deny it, because they are needless; and nothing needless can form a true ellipsis. To the supplying of useless words, if we admit the principle, there may be no end; and the notion that conjunctions join sentences only, opens a wide door for it. For example: "And that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. No additional words will make this clause any plainer, and none are really necessary to the construction; yet some grammarians will parse it with the following impletions, or more: "And that man was a perfect man , and he was an upright man , and he was one man that feared God, and that eschewed evil things.
Adam and others would recognize a sentence as being compound. What then? Yes, truly; but these authors are wrong in their notions and definitions of both. Joint nominatives or joint verbs may occur in either; but they belong primarily to some simple sentences, and only for that reason are found in any that are compound.
A sentence, too, may possibly be made compound, when a simple one would express the whole meaning as well or better; as, "And [David] smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer. Here, if we omit the words in Italics, the sentence will become simple, not elliptical. To analyze a sentence, is, to resolve it into some species of constituent parts, but most properly into words, its first significant elements, and to point out their several relations and powers in the given connexion.
The component parts of a sentence are members, clauses, phrases , or words. Some sentences, which are short and simple, can only be divided into their words; others, which are long and complex, may be resolved into parts again and again divisible.
Of analysis applicable to sentences, there are several different methods; and, so far as their difference may compatibly aid the application of different principles of the science of grammar, there may be an advantage in the occasional use of each. Sentences not simple may be reduced to their constituent members, clauses, or simple sentences; and the means by which these are united, may be shown. Thus The three members are united in one sentence, by a suspension of the sense at each dash, and by two virtual repetitions of the subject, " Atheist " through the pronoun " he ," put in the same case, and representing this noun.
The sense mainly intended is not brought out till the period ends. The first of these relative clauses involves also a subordinate, supplementary clause,--" the universe is self-existent and indestructible "--introduced after the verb " tells " by the conjunction " that. Rasselas could not catch the fugitive, with his utmost efforts; but, resolving to weary, by perseverance, him whom he could not surpass in speed, he pressed on till the foot of the mountain stopped his course.
Its principal parts are-- Fear, quickens, flight ; Fear being the subject, quickens the verb, and flight the object. Fear has no adjunct; naturally is an adjunct of quickens ; the and of guilt are adjuncts of flight. The second period is composed of several clauses, or simple members, united. The first of these is also a simple sentence, having, three principal parts-- Rasselas, could catch , and fugitive ; the subject, the verb, and its object, in their order.
Not is added to could catch , reversing the meaning; the is an adjunct to fugitive ; with joins its phrase to could not catch ; but his and utmost are adjuncts of efforts.
The word but connects the two chief members as parts of one sentence. Him is governed by weary , and is the antecedent to whom. Not and in speed are adjuncts to the verb could surpass.